We visited the gardens for the first time in a year. We have gone to the gardens’ Shaw Nature Reserve several times in this last year. It is less populated and wider open and felt safer. As it turns out on a weekday in February even the gardens are pretty empty. A lot had changed at the gardens. First off, the Ridgeway visitor’s center has been torn down. Although relatively new, it was deemed obsolete and unable to handle the expected greater visitor flow. So, the first thing to greet us on our visit was the sound of jackhammers. A new, smaller building is now serving as the garden’s temporary visitor’s center. It looks permanent though. So, I’m unsure what its eventual role will be. The new entrance fronts onto the Linnean House, a Henry Shaw era greenhouse that has been emptied out, except for some construction debris. Likewise, with the adjacent fountains, one of them had been boarded over. The Climatron was open, but we had decided to stay out of the buildings, as best we could. Besides with wearing masks our glasses were already fogging up. The home gardening center was closed due to another construction project, as were many of the smaller trails throughout the gardens, probably because of Covid. Even the fish food dispensers for the koi in the Japanese garden were boarded up. Amazingly, there were a few flowers out, Winter Aconite, Snowdrops and Witch Hazel, lots of Witch Hazel. To think that only a week ago the highs were in single digits.